Volkswagen of America, Inc., said Tuesday it sold 37,704 vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 3.1 percent rise over the year-earlier number and the best March performance for the German automaker in four decades.

“Last month marked our 31st consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases and our strongest March in 40 years,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. 

The Passat, which was first produced in 1973 and is in its sixth generation, sold 9,521 units in the U.S. in March, down 5.1 percent from last year. Sales of the Jetta, released in 1979 and in its sixth generation, was the group leader with 12,872 units sold, up a slight 0.3 percent from the same month last year.

Sales of the Tiguan compact crossover rose 24.3 percent to 3,304 while Beetle sales more than doubled to 4,082 compared to the same month last year.

The company saw a 4 percent rise in sales for the first quarter, to 98,178 units.